The UMBC men's basketball team (0-1) plays its second consecutive game against a 2017 NCAA Tournament squad when the Retrievers travel from Dallas, Texas to Tucson, Arizona to face the third-ranked Arizona Wildcats (1-0) on Sunday, Nov. 12. Tip-off at the Mc Kale Center is set for 6:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
The game vs. the Wildcats will mark the second time that UMBC has faced a team ranked No. 3 at the time of the contest. The Retrievers fell at No. 3 Pittsburgh, 91-56, on Dec. 13, 2008.
Retriever Update: UMBC led host SMU for nearly 23 minutes and deep into the second half, but the 2017 American Conference champions prevailed, 78-67, before 6,841 at Moody Coliseum in the opener for both teams on Friday evening.
Sophomore forward Arkel Lamar (Bridgeport, Conn.) posted career highs in scoring (23), rebounding (12) and recorded his first career double-double. Graduate student guard Jairus Lyles (Silver Spring, Md./DeMatha) led the Retrievers with 24 points.
Lamar and Lyles combined for 34 first-half points as UMBC built a 10-point lead and settled for 45-38 advantage at the break. But the Retrievers would not score a field goal in nearly the final six minutes of the game and were outscored, 15-4, down the stretch in suffering the setback.
A Glance at the Wildcats: The third-ranked Wildcats opened the campaign with a 101-67 victory over Northern Arizona on Friday evening. UA led, 49-36, at the half, but pulled away with a 52-point second half.
Junior guard Allonzo Trier hit 10-of-13 shots from the floor and 10-of-11 free throw attempts and led all scorers with 32 points. 7-1 freshman forward Deandre Ayton (19/12) and 7-0 senior center Dusan Ristic (20/10) both posted double-doubles in the rout. UMBC was the third-most improved Division I team in the nation with a 13-game improvement (7-25 to 21-13) over the previous season, behind only national powers Minnesota (1) and UCLA (2).
The Retrievers have ventured to the Grand Canyon state previously, as recently as the opener of the 2013-14 season. UMBC faced Arizona State and fell to the Sun Devils, 96-61.
Other Retriever Notes:
• Head Coach Ryan Odom was the recipient of the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.
• UMBC became the fourth team in America East history to make their way to the semi-finals of a national tournament, after garnering three victories in the 2017 College Insider Tournament (CIT). Vermont went to the semis of the 2015 and 2016 CBI and Boston U. got to the CBI semis in 2010. But UMBC is the first of those squads to win three games to reach the penultimate round.
• The 21 wins was the second-most in the 30-year NCAA Division I history of the program.
Up Next: UMBC returns home and will open the season at the RAC Arena for the final time on Thursday, Nov. 14, when they host Central Penn College. Tip time is slated for 7:00 p.m. and Gary Stein, John Feinstein and Paul Mittermeier will have the call on ESPN3.